Over one of the weekends since being in Costa Rica, I took a trip with a group from the program to Tamarindo in Guanacaste. We embarked on a six-hour journey via public transportation from San Jose, costing only $13—an absolute steal, in my opinion. Nestled along the Pacific Coast, Tamarindo greets you with a palpable change in atmosphere, clearly marking your arrival in a beach town. The area is quite touristy, attracting visitors from around the globe coming to bask in its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. From its beautiful beaches to lively night life, there’re some key things to do while visiting this scenic spot.
Our adventure began on a Friday night, we arrived and were greeted by a sky filled with constellations, so unlike anything I’d witnessed before—it truly felt like a slice of heaven on earth. From the Big Dipper and Little Dipper to Orion’s Belt, the stars twinkled, alongside the bright moon’s reflection over the ocean. By day, the beach was sheer bliss. We enjoyed fresh coconuts from walking vendors, got handmade bracelets, and reveled in the warm, refreshing waters. Whether diving into the waves or lounging on the sand, it was the perfect getaway under the sun. We stayed at the beach past sunset and it was truly one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever witnessed. We swam in the ocean as the color of the ocean turned purple from all the colors in the sky. It was a view I had to take a screenshot of in my brain because I never wanted to forget it.
For a calmer, less touristy beach, you can take a little drive down to Playa Negra. The stronger waves here attract more surfers, but it remains a serene escape from the bustle of the major cities. Notably, Playa Negra is known for its black sand; however, I found it was more of a dark grey hue with had sparkles and shimmer peaking out. It made for a nice little escape for a few hours before getting back to the main city of Tamarindo.
A place to get a nice dinner at is Oveja Negra. The menu has lots of Mexican dishes like loaded nachos, tacos, burritos and more. The real pull to this restaurant, however, was the ambiance and welcoming workers. Our waitress was super sweet and fun to talk to, and there was a live singer serenading the night away. From Spanish songs to English throwbacks, we were all eating, singing along, and having a memorably joyful night out.
The next morning, we visited Tama Market. It’s a huge outdoor market with jewelry, souvenirs, local artistry, fresh kombucha, snacks to sample, and so much more. We walked around it for a few hours going down every alley of vendors and immersing ourselves into the vibrant culture that Tamarindo had to offer. It was such a rich way to start our day as we met various people, learned about their stories and the things they were selling while trying many different samples along the way.
After sunset, the environment of Tamarindo turns into a lively spot for nightlife. From exploring the bars and clubs, to the multiple beachfront parties, there’s a variety of ways to be entertained. Whether you prefer a more chill night sitting down and playing cards with the group, or going out and dancing to local beats, you can get both. There’s a certain energy that comes out at night as people stay out on the streets all night long. Tamarindo has so much to offer from its beautiful sights to robust nightlife, it makes it a must-see spot to visit while in Costa Rica.